Katie's Wildlife Blog

There is a change in the air as September and Autumn draw nearer, not just the cooler often misty mornings but also the faint smell in the air of ripening fruit and damp earth. 

I don’t know about you but it’s always reminds me of going back to school, a new start if you will and that’s still how I see it now as a gardener – not the end of a Summer but the start of a new gardening year.

September brings a lovey natural pause in the garden, much needed after months of what have been difficult growing conditions this Summer. It’s the perfect time to reflect on the gardens performance and start planning for next year –  take full advantage!

You might want to move some plants around or plant some new ones in any gaps you’ve noticed, don’t wait till Spring, do this now, it’s the best time of year to do this for several reasons; firstly, you can see where everything is and what it looks like unlike Winter and early Spring when it’s hard to decipher which plant is which. Secondly, most plants are moving into their dormancy period, so will cope much better with being disturbed unlike when they are in active growth during the Spring/Summer and thirdly, the soil is still lovely and warm meaning your plants can snuggle down and grow new roots in preparation for next year’s big display and before the cold of Winter sets in.

Now as much I enjoy being productive and planning at this time of year, I do not look forward to the cold and grey Winter months – however over the years I have managed to find a joy in my garden that doesn’t come in the form of plants but Wildlife instead. Wildlife in my garden is what gets my itchy green fingers through the Winter months – even on the wettest and coldest of days I can enjoy watching the birds on the gardens birdfeeders or eating seeds from the Verbena bonariensis and various other perennials that I don’t cut back, from inside the warmth of the house. I find great satisfaction in knowing that animals and insects have plenty of places to find a home in the garden and I encourage as many Winter visitors as possible by leaving piles of leaves and logs, allowing the borders to be a little untidy, always making sure there is water available and putting plenty of things out for the birds.

These are simple things to do but I find the reward is huge – not just because of the sheer pleasure when I manage to entice a bullfinch into the garden but also because it completes the garden cycle, birds eat lots of slugs and ladybirds love nothing more than munching aphids etc etc.. Wildlife is an underused garden tool that benefits garden the gardener and the planet – do your bit this year and see what you can manage tempt in, I would love to see your pictures!

TIP: If you like to plant up Winter containers things like Sarcaccoca and Winter flowering heather are invaluable for pollinators as well as looking and smelling gorgeous.